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Change Of Face

Entrepreneurial shapeshifters may be in one business today and something entirely different tomorrow. The key is knowing when it's time to change focus.

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This story appears in the April 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

After his father was murdered in 1981, computer database expert David Wheeler developed a program that could pinpoint perpetrators with startling accuracy by sifting through reports, tips and other investigative data. The first time he tried it, the program linked several seemingly unrelated crimes and fingered a suspect. "I've got something here," he thought.

In 1991, Wheeler, 39, founded InfoGlide, Inc. of , , to sell the software program to law-enforcement agencies. Local and national departments utilized it to investigate everything from serial rapists to international terrorists. But other, cash-strapped public agencies lacked the financial means to support Wheeler's start-up. Says InfoGlide CEO Jay Valentine, 50, "If the client loves the product but can't afford to buy it, there's no market."

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